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Focus for a More Sustainable Long-Range Transportation Plan


Posted by: Bob Williams, VP of Advocacy

We are often asked at Reconnect Rochester questions regarding who is responsible for prioritizing transportation projects in our region and the process through which that is accomplished. The answer leads back to the 1962 National Highway Act which required all urbanized areas of greater than 50,000 population to form a Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, for the channeling of federal funding to both individual projects and transportation programs.

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2014 the Safest Year to Be a Pedestrian in NYC Since 1910

In June, the New York State legislature passed a bill to let NYC lower its default limit to 25mph. Lowering speed limits is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan. [PHOTO: Michael Tapp, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

This month marks the one year anniversary of New York City’s ambitious Vision Zero campaign external link, a plan to eliminate traffic fatalities by the year 2024.

As part of the effort external link, traffic calming and street design measures were implemented, bike lanes were expanded, speed cameras were installed in school zones, the citywide default speed limit was reduced to 25 mph, arterial slow zones were established, public education and awareness were ramped up and the NYPD significantly stepped up enforcement and ticketing for traffic violations. It’s an effort that requires all people, regardless of how they traverse those streets to rethink how they drive, walk and ride about their daily lives. It requires a shift in the culture of getting about in NYC, which is no easy task.

So, one year later, is the campaign making a difference?

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City Council Approves Additional Red Light Camera Study

Do Red Light Cameras Make Rochester Streets Safer? [PHOTO: Yousuf Fahimuddin]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

Last week, the City Council approved further study of Rochester’s red light camera program. This isn’t a brand new study, but an expansion of the study that was released in November. The results of that study indicated a reduction in the number of accidents at 22 intersections external link that have red light cameras. Two intersections had no changes in the collision rates before and after the cameras were installed. And 8 intersections had an increase in the number of collisions. Those 8 intersections are the subject of the expanded study, as well as whether the cameras could be tied into traffic signals to help reduce operation costs…

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Parking Summit This Wednesday

The City of Rochester will hold a public Parking Summit this Wednesday.
Posted by: Mike Governale, president and co-founder of Reconnect Rochester

This Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:00pm at the Penthouse (1 East Avenue – 11th Floor) you are invited to attend a Downtown Parking Summit external link hosted by the City of Rochester. But this is not a meeting to discuss how we create more parking. We’ve tried that before, and it nearly killed our city.

Reconnect Rochester recognizes the importance of having an adequate supply of downtown parking. However, we believe parking should be one component to a much larger, diverse plan to improve access to downtown…

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Rochester Extends Red Light Camera Program

Rochester Extends Right Light Camera Program [PHOTO: Renee Stetzer]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

Last night the City Council approved the extension of Rochester’s red light camera program until December 2019. The 6 to 3 vote was originally scheduled for September, but postponed when the results of the red light camera study were not yet available. The official report was released last week…

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New Citywide 25MPH Speed Limit in NYC

New Citywide 25MPH Speed Limit in NYC. [PHOTO: Vision Zero, NYC.gov]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

New York City’s new lower citywide speed limit goes into effect today. In June the NY State legislature passed a bill that allowed NYC to lower its default speed limit to 25mph external link. Part of the city’s Vision Zero plan external link to eliminate traffic fatalities, the new lower default speed limit was approved by the City Council in October and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio last week. And the new 25mph signs are going up today…

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City Council to Vote to Extend Red Light Camera Program

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo granted permission for several cities and counties in New York, including Rochester, to begin or continue red light camera programs until 2019.  [PHOTO: FringeHog, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

The City Council will vote to extend the red light camera program on October 14th. Rochester began its program in 2010 and there are currently cameras installed at over 30 intersections. The city recently completed its second study on the impact the cameras have on traffic accidents at intersections with cameras. Although the official report is not yet available to the public, some draft findings were shared at a City Council meeting in August.  Here are a few…
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Can Lower City Speed Limits Make Streets Safer?

In June, the New York State legislature passed a bill to let NYC lower its default limit to 25mph. Lowering speed limits is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan. [PHOTO: Dmitry Gudkov, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

All across the country, state legislatures are raising speed limits on roadways external link. I think the highest I’ve read about is a tollway in Texas, which is taking on the Autobahn with an 85 mph limit. Highways are getting faster it seems. New York City, however, has been pushing for the authority to lower speed limits on its streets. And in June, the New York State legislature passed a bill to let NYC lower its default limit to 25mph (from the default of 30 mph). Lowering default speed limits on its 6000 miles of roads is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero external link plan to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024…

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Mount Read Boulevard Corridor Study: Public Meeting This Thursday

A public meeting will be held this Thursday to review an improvement plan for Mount Read Boulevard.
The City of Rochester, in partnership with the NY State Department of Transportation, Monroe County, Town of Greece, and Genesee Transportation Council, is leading an effort to develop a vision for improving Mount Read Boulevard external link from Buffalo Road (NYS Route 33) traffic circle to Stone Road.

If you use this section of Mt Read Blvd, either on foot, bike, car, truck, or public transit, you are invited to attend a public meeting this Thursday…

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Rochester Bicycle Boulevards Public Meeting

Bike Boulevard in Berkeley, CA [PHOTO: Artbandito]
Rochester is planning a network of bicycle boulevards external link to connect destinations throughout the city and give residents a safer bike commute. The plan is being developed by the City of Rochester, in partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation, Monroe County, Rochester Cycling Alliance, and Genesee Transportation Council.

If you’d like to hear more about this project and provide input, please attend the first public meeting tomorrow:

Tuesday, Feb. 11 @ 6pm
Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County NY
Kate Gleason Auditorium
115 South Avenue external link

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Join the Call for Safer Streets in Rochester

Lake Avenue at St. Bernard's Park Apartments where senior citizens regularly cross to pick up their bus on the opposite side of the street.
Last week the City of Rochester decided it would not move ahead with a planned road diet along Lake Avenue that many had hoped would improve safety for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and those who depend on bus service in the area. The Lake Avenue Improvement Project external link would have replaced two automobile lanes with a center turning lane and bike lanes. Due to pressure from the Charlotte neighborhood and merchants associations, city engineers will be sent back to the drawing board, ordered to keep all four auto lanes…

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Monroe County Had 2,679 Vehicle Collisions Involving Pedestrians & Cyclists Over Last 4 Years Report Shows

Yet, New York State plans to spend fewer dollars on pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure; advocates call on the Governor to allocate more resources.

In Monroe County (January 1, 2009 - December 31, 2012) pedestrians were involved in 1,479 vehicle crashes and 1,200 involved bicyclists.
According to state data, there were 2,679 vehicle collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists in Monroe County over a four-year period from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012. Using the New York State Department of Transportation’s Accident Data Files, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit transportation policy watchdog organization, found that pedestrians were involved in 1,479 of these collisions and 1,200 involved bicyclists.1 Thirty-three of these collisions were fatal (28 pedestrian collisions and 5 bicyclist collisions). The City of Rochester had the highest number of collisions (1,614) and the town of Greece the second highest (215)…

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Governor Cuomo Signs “Complete Streets”

Pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders in Rochester (and across New York state) will soon benefit from a new Complete Streets law. Thanks to the volunteers at Reconnect Rochester and outspoken citizens like you! [FLICKR PHOTO: _Yoshi]
Earlier this year, Reconnect Rochester teamed up with Tri-State Transportation Campaignexternal link and other transportation advocacy groups from around New York state in an effort to mobilize support for, and urge Governor Cuomo to sign New York’s first Complete Streets law. Thousands of you and other New Yorkers signed petitions and wrote and called your representatives. It made all the difference, helping to get this issue onto the agendas of elected officials and making sure it passed during a busy legislative session.

Pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders in Rochester (and across New York state) will soon benefit from a new Complete Streets law. Thanks to the volunteers at Reconnect Rochester and outspoken citizens like you! [IMAGE: Reconnect Rochester]Earlier this week Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the billexternal link that will make streets safer for everyone. The law will ensure that major road projects take into account the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and people of all ages and abilities.

Whether young or old; on foot, in a wheelchair, on a bike, or in a car, everyone is safer when roads are designed so everyone can use them. Roads designed according to complete streets principlesexternal link are safer and encourage walking and cycling, leading to healthier neighborhoods and better quality of life. This is an extremely important reform that will save lives.

Thank YOU for helping to win positive change!

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Mapnificent, Meet Rochester.

Posted by: John Lam

Rochester is now on Mapnificent thanks to Reconnect Rochester!
Scoop one for Reconnect Rochester! Several days ago we noticed Mapnificent.net (a new site for visualizing transit reachability) hadn’t included Rochester among its cities. Clicking into its support forum led me to a post also seeking support for Rochester. A quick search told us our bus company had just announced the public availability of their General Transit Feed Specification, so in response we posted the location of this feed and within an hour Rochester debuted in Mapnificentexternal link.

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Help Stop Devastating Transportation Cuts

Rep. John Mica says the transportation sector will 'do more with less.' [PHOTO: Orlando Sentinel]
Yesterday morning House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman John Mica unveiled his proposal [PDF, 3.6mb] for t-bill authorization, which amounts to a 33-35% cut to federal transportation spending. Below is a quick thumbnail sketch of his proposal, responses/reactions from other lawmakers & advocacy groups, and three things YOU can do to help stop this train wreck…

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Erie Lackawanna Bridge Project Meeting

A potential threat to the preservation of rights-of-way for a light rail line between downtown Rochester and the University of Rochester is the City of Rochester’s plan to convert the bridge into a bike/ped-only bridge.

It’s important to note that creation of the bike/pedestrian link itself will not preclude transit; on the other hand it is important that the project be treated as a rails-with-trails project rather than a rails-to-trails conversion. This will ensure preservation of the right-of-way for possible future transit.

A rails-to-trails conversion will make a later conversion to rail transit difficult, whereas a rails-with-trails project specifies that an adequate dedicated right-of-way (strip of land) be specifically preserved for future rail transit use.

Please attend an open-house
public meeting this Wednesday:

Time: February 16, 2011 from 7pm to 9pm

Location: Phillis Wheatley Community Library
33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way

For more information, contact Holly Barrett (428-6384) or barretth@cityofrochester.gov

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A New Future for Transit in Rochester: Our Mayoral Policy Statement

[PHOTO: Robert Torzynski]

Reconnect Rochester is a group of transportation advocates calling for the creation of a fully integrated multi-modal transportation network for our region. We believe the next Mayor has the opportunity to champion a dramatic shift in our transportation infrastructure. The transit system this city and region needs will require dedication of time, staff and resources.

We urge all candidates to pledge their commitment to this vision as part of their platform for candidacy.

Read what each candidate had to say about this document and the future of Rochester’s transit system below.

What follows is our reasoning and recommendations for the future Mayor to incorporate into his or her platform.

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